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Paul Simon: The Controversial South African Trip That Inspired ’Graceland’

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A bootlegged cassette tape, Saturday Night Live and half of the legendary folk-rock act Simon & Garfuknel seem like the oddest of combinations.

And perhaps even stranger, they came together to lead Paul Simon to get on a plane to South Africa — a trip that laid the foundation for his 1986 album, Graceland, that would redefine his career, but not without controversy.

“My new album really came about by accident,” Simon told The New York Times in 1986. “In the summer of 1984, a friend of mine gave me a tape of ‘township jive,’ the street music of Soweto, South Africa.”

He became obsessed and wanted to trace down its roots, even though he didn’t know what it was at the time. “I thought that the group, whoever it was, would be interesting to record with. And so I went on a search to find out who they were and where they came from.”

See also  11 Powerful James Baldwin Quotes

Simon was introduced to ‘township jive’ music thanks, in part, to Lorne Michaels

The ‘friend’ he was referring to turned out to be a connection Simon made because of Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. During the time that Michaels had stepped away from SNL to produce the short-lived The New Show in 1984, he had brought Heidi Berg from the SNL band to his new project as the bandleader.





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Davistech Adewumi (CEO DAVISLOADED) is a Nigerian news carrier blogger, writer, entrepreneur, SEO Expert, Tech Guru and a web developer. We bring you the Nigerian News, Music, Sport Talk and All Informative Messages On This Medium. Connect With Me Via: IG/Twitter: @davisloaded Call/Whatsapp: +2349038173068

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